Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Walker, Texas Ranger
Challenge/Prompt: tamingthemuse #549: Texas Ranger(s)
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 2,425
Date Written: 31 January 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Today was supposed to be the best day of her life; instead, it's proven to be a hectic, harrowing run all day long. Her heart is still pounding as she struggles into a new dress. It's not the dress she wanted, but that dress was destroyed in all the fighting today. "It's going to be okay," Alex says.
Deep down, Sydney knows she's right. Alex and Walker had nothing but trouble whenever they tried to date until marriage had seemed an impossibility for them, but they had finally made it happen back in the '90s. Now, they have children of their own, and in a few more months, Walker, along with Trivette, will be retiring, leaving herself and her partner to helm the Texas Rangers. They've made their lives happen. They fought for their happiness and finally won. She and Gage can do the same.
Her head lifts as she hears him call her name. She feels the same quick catch of her breath and her heart skipping a beat as it always has when he draws near to her, even long before she was ready to admit the effect he has on her. She loves Francis Gage, with all the flaws of his first name, his temper, and his determination to be the valiant gentleman which extends even to treating her as the lady she'll never be.
Before she can answer, Sydney hears grappling outside the door. She hikes her long, white skirts and moves for the door, but Alex blocks her way. "It's okay," her only female friend says again.
"I told you it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding!" Sydney relaxes as she realizes it's simply Trivette blocking Gage from the door. "Look at what happened this morning!"
Yeah, she thinks with a definite unladylike snort of derision, look at this morning: at the bomb threats that were called into the station and the church, at the escaped convicts they'd taken down previously who did everything in their power to ruin their wedding day, at the injury done by the bullet that grazed Gage's leg, will slow their first dance as a married couple, and could have done so much worse. Things could have gone so much worse today, Sydney thinks, looking down at her hands just as the light catches on her engagement ring.
She slips the ring off, knowing it's soon to be replaced by another one as the guys continue to argue on the other side of the door. She turns it slowly in her fingers, watching the way the gold shines and remembering the day she'd finally allowed Gage to slip this promise ring, as he'd called it then, onto her finger. She'd told him she wasn't the marrying kind and that their lives didn't leave room for marriage, that Walker and Alex had just gotten incredibly lucky. He'd told her then that he was the lucky one, lucky to have her as his partner, his best friend, and girlfriend, even if she refused to ever become anything more. She'd laughed at the way he'd looked so sweetly, innocently, and admiringly at her and had told him that, if she ever did marry any one, the only one she'd ever want to marry would be him.
And God knows she does want to marry the man outside her door even now. She wants nothing more than to be with him for the rest of her life, just like at one time she'd wanted nothing more than to be able to stop running and settle down -- again, with him in her life. The solution to that desire had come with a little piece of gold too. Sydney had thought nothing could possibly outshine her badge when they'd given her the gold star she now has tucked away with her gun inside her boot. (She might have agreed to come back to the church this evening, get redressed, and go ahead with a smaller version of the ceremony they'd originally planned for this morning, but she wasn't about to get caught without her gun again.)
Regardless, she was wrong. There is a piece of gold in this world -- two pieces, she knows although she hasn't seen the second one yet -- that shines far more brightly than even the star of her Texas Ranger badge. She's looking at it now, admiring its gold beauty, and remembering the sweetness of the man who'd placed it on her finger. Tears touch her eyes even as Alex envelopes her in her arms. "It's okay," her friend whispers yet again, but this time, Sydney nods.
"It's okay, Gage," she calls through the closed door. "Listen to Trivette. We don't want any more bad luck today, do we?" He laughs, and she smiles at the sound. "I'm almost ready. I'll be there, I promise."
"You'd better be," Walker calls, and the women can hear his grin in his voice, "because if he comes for you again, I don't think a team of wild horses -- or wild Rangers -- will be able to pull him away."
"I'll be there in just a few more minutes," she promises again, carefully sliding her engagement ring down with her badge into her hidden holster. She's going to need to wear it on a different finger after today. She listens to Walker and Trivette hauling Gage away from her door, then stands and tries once again to straighten this dress. It isn't the dress she wanted, but it'll do. "How do I look?" she asks, her eyes raising to meet Alex's which are also sparkling with unshed tears.
"Beautiful," the blonde answers. "Are you ready now?"
Sydney nods, and together they leave the small room and head into the sanctuary. The church isn't packed as it was this morning. There are only a few people who stand when Alex hurries over to her friend at the piano and whispers to her to start the music. There's only a few people, but these people are her family, the family she always knew she wanted but whose faces were never clear until these last several years of her life.
Gunshots echo in Sydney's mind as she begins to walk up the aisle. After a thorough investigation had led to no bomb being found, they had tried to proceed with the ceremony only to have it interrupted by a band of thugs she and Gage had not only arrested but had been instrumental in putting behind bars for life. They'd killed a Ranger today and taken several other people hostage. It almost doesn't feel right to be continuing with the ceremony today, but Gage is right: If they're going to do this, if they're going to refuse to allow the creeps they have to chase and put behind bars as Rangers to have control over or otherwise impact their lives, they've got to stop putting off their plans and go ahead with them. They've got to do what they want to do, and there's never been anything she's ever wanted to do more than spend the rest of her life with the smiling, handsome man who's waiting for her at the end of the aisle with the Preacher.
Sydney locks eyes with him, and as she feels her heart rush higher up into her chest, almost as though it's grown wings at the mere sight of his charming smile, she knows she's doing the right thing. Today may not be at all the day she planned. She didn't want people to be hurt, let alone killed, because of them, but what happened today wasn't their fault. Walker was right, and Alex was, too. They were doing their jobs. They were doing what was right. It was the creeps who threw back in jail this very afternoon who killed their friend, not them.
And it's creeps like them who have impacted her her whole life. When this group of people first came into her life, she, and Gage too, were on the wrong side of the law. They had a lot to atone for, but they've made things right. They've saved so many lives, solved so many cases, and stopped so many more people from being hurt or worse. It's far past time they had a little happiness themselves.
That's what Alex told her today, paraphrasing what she had once told her own husband, and she was right. "Thank you," Sydney whispers out of the corner of her mouth to the woman who's trailing behind her. She can't see her, but she can feel her smile, just as she can feel the smile of all those still inside this little church.
But her eyes are still focused on her partner's. This isn't the life she'd pictured when she was a kid or even as an adult running from the law. She never once thought she wanted to be a Texas Ranger until Walker made them the offer he made them that simultaneously changed their lives, saved them from going down the river as they've sent so many others who would not have taken such an offer, and brought them ultimately closer together. In many ways, Walker has become like a father to both of them.
She glances at him as she moves closer to Gage. Walker's grinning almost as widely as her fiance and tips his hat to her before taking it back off. He elbows Trivette, who's making eyes at the piano player. "Uh? Oh. Oh!" Trivette quickly removes his own hat, tossing it to the nearest, empty pew.
Sydney's gaze returns to Gage. She'd thought she'd lost him today. The thought was terrifying. She'd rather lose her own life than ever lose him. But when she'd knelt beside him, he'd reached out, grabbed her, pulled her closer, and whispered to her, "You're not getting rid of me that easy, darling," before kissing her. She remembers thinking even then, before the power of his lips against hers had rendered her both breathless and thoughtless, I don't want to be rid of you.
There are so many things about her life that aren't the way she thought they would be. This isn't the life she wanted, but it is the family she wanted. This isn't the dress she wanted, or even the ceremony they had planned. Their day was all messed up, and most of the guests who had planned to be here in honor of them today have long gone home, too many of them with injuries of their own. She notices the way Gage limps as he moves to stand with her before the Preacher. This isn't the day they had planned at all.
But this is the next step of the life she wants, and the life she's been planning for far longer than she's dared to admit it. Long before she ever admitted to having feelings for him, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Francis Gage. She just never dared to think it could happen with him as her husband and she as his wife, but they've all been through has led them to this very moment. He slips her new ring onto her finger, and it shines more brightly than anything she's ever witnessed before, just as she knew it would.
She's barely aware of the words the Preacher is saying, but she can feel her very skin flushing with the heat of her joy as Gage responds, "I do." She knows, too, what is expected of her when the church comes to another quiet pause and Gage's fingers tighten on her hand. She knows he's afraid she's thinking of running again, but she's through running. She knows what she wants, and she's going to get it. This may not be the wedding she wanted, but he will always be the man she wants.
"I do," she says eagerly and watches the tension drain from the man who is very soon to be her husband. She grins up at him. His answering smile has never looked so beautiful or filled his face quite so much. Their fingers entwine, and Sydney feels a single tear slip free from her always careful control. She lets it fall, knowing it's not a sign of weakness or of sorrow but of the most happiness she's ever felt before in all her life.
Then the Preacher is calling them "husband and wife", and Gage's lips are angling down toward hers. Syd steps up, meeting his mouth's embrace with her own eager lips. Her tongue twirls around his as her arms wrap around him. She doesn't care that her bouquet is being crushed or even that she may be hurting his sore body a little. She only cares that it's finally happened!
This isn't the wedding she wanted. It isn't the way their day was supposed to be. But none of that matters any longer. Alex was right. Indeed, she was more than right for everything now is far more than okay. Her world is complete, her future delivered. She is Missus Sydney Gage, and as the Preacher said, no man will tear apart what God put together. He made this man for her, and she for him, and they are whole at last!
She allows herself to squeal her delight as Gage lifts her into the air. He starts to stumble. "Put her down!" Walker orders, and he does, almost dropping her and falling himself in the process.
Sydney catches him, her arms going around him. "You shouldn't have tried that." Yet right now, even while scolding him, she still can't seem to frown. There's far too much happiness leaping in her heart.
He grins back at her. "Can't blame a guy for trying," he says, the same words he said when he tried to kiss her for the first time, when he tried to make her confess her feelings for him the first time, and when he first asked her to marry him and she told him, flat out, "no".
"No," she agrees, beaming and thanking God he'd never stopped trying. "No, I won't, because you made our happiness happen."
His grin takes a teasing twist. "Who's getting all misty-eyed now?" he asks.
She laughs. "Shut up," she orders, her voice tight and raw with emotion and hushes them both as she kisses him again and again amidst applause from their friends, the family they've both always needed and wanted, the family who, now that they're married, is complete at last.